Urijah Faber: Doctors ‘Took 30 Different Pieces’ Out Of Sage Northcutt’s Face

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Last week, former UFC contender Sage Northcutt made an unsuccessful debut in ONE Championship when he was knocked out in only 29 seconds by powerful kickboxer Cosmo Alexandre at Friday’s ‘Enter The Dragon’ from Singapore.

The loss was devastating in and of itself, yet some much more concerning news came when it was revealed that Northcutt underwent a nine-hour surgery to fix eight fractures in his face. The surgery was certainly an intense operation, and we found out just how intense today.

Speaking during an interview on The MMA Hour with Luke Thomas today, Northcutt’s Team Alpha Male mentor Urijah Faber detailed just how gruesome it was. He stated that the huge right hand from Alexandre broke Northcutt’s face so badly that doctors had to pick 30 different pieces of bone fragments out of his face:

“Sage went one way and then the other way, first time in a ring, and literally gets manhunted with the nastiest punch and crushes his whole face. Basically splintered his cheek into 30 pieces and broke his orbital bone. He had eight different fractures and literally they had to pick the pieces of the bone fragments out. 30 different pieces out of his face.”

Didn’t See A Fight

Faber said we didn’t get to see Northcutt’s skills because the fight ended so quickly at the hands of the big and powerful Alexandre:

“So a bunch went wrong, 23, 25 seconds in we really didn’t see much of a fight. Cosmo’s a seven-time world champ, he’s dangerous, fighting at 185 pounds, under the impression that nobody cuts weight in ONE FC and they do hydration tests because of etc., and we didn’t get to see much of a fight to be honest.”

Faber then opened up on the question of if Alexandre had cut weight or not. ‘Super’ was fighting at 185 pounds in ONE after competing at 155 and 170 pounds in the UFC. ‘The California Kid’ speculated that even though Northcutt trusted that no one was cutting weight in ONE, everyone still was.

Won’t Blame Weight Cutting

He wouldn’t blame that for his loss, however. Faber said Northcutt was simply caught with a huge punch:

“Sage is such a faith-based guy and takes things as they’re said. Of course, everybody’s cutting weight,” Faber said. “I was kind of trying to wrap my head around the thing and you have to do a hydration test and they weigh you in a couple of days in a row, so it makes it really difficult. But I talked to multiple guys there that were cutting weight and it is what it is.

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“That wasn’t the main problem there. Cosmo’s an incredible fighter, seasoned Muay Thai kickboxer, 7-1 as a mixed martial artist. Just came across the ring and landed a nasty punch and ended it for Sage there.”

Ill-Advised Match-Up?

There was a general sentiment that Northcutt possibly could have been given or asked for an easier fight for his ONE debut, and that was exacerbated by hindsight bias here. Faber admitted the 23-year-old had been dealing with some minor injuries, so perhaps taking the bout with such a seasoned striker wasn’t the best idea:

“There’s a lot of stuff going into this fight, he’d had to pull out a couple of different times on dates, it’s been almost 10 months since he actually had a fight,” Faber said. “Didn’t get to see him follow through with practices for a long time now because of some little injuries. In retrospect, there were some warning signs maybe not to take this fight and like you said, it’s not like you go into a fight thinking you’re gonna get your face smashed.”

Listen To The Coaches

Finally, Faber acknowledged there was some advice in play to not take on Alexandre. He believes Northcutt should fight at 170 pounds in the future and make sure he has a full camp behind him when he does. Faber wouldn’t blame those things for the loss either. But he did touch on his coaches perhaps having the final say in decisions like that, perhaps throwing a bit of doubt on his father Mark’s management of his career:

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“But against some advice, the fight was taken, not that we don’t believe in Sage absolutely, in the future I’d like to see him at 170 pounds and I’d like to see him at least be able to follow through with an entire camp or at least more than he was able to.

“Again, that’s not the reason why he lost the fight. He fought a great competitor and it’s his first time in the ring and kind of a freak of a thing happened with his face shattering like that I feel like. In the future, maybe coaches having the final say on whether or not a guy goes out there is a good idea and I think talking to his father who loves Sage very much and believes in him, hard lesson learned for all of us.”